Man Utd academy graduate handed Championship job to become eighth manager in three years

Tom Cleverley will join a number of former Manchester United players and coaches in the Championship.

Tom Cleverley has been appointed as interim head coach at Watford following the decision to sack Valérien Ismaël on Saturday.

Ismaël was relieved of his duties on Saturday afternoon, following a 2-1 defeat at home to Coventry City. Watford have lost six of their last eight games and slipped from play-off challengers to lower mid-table.

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Cleverley, a former Manchester United academy graduate and first-team player, had been coaching Watford's under-18s side since retiring in July. And the 34-year-old has now been thrown in at the deep end and will take temporary charge of the first-team at Vicarage Road.

A brief statement from Watford read: "Tom Cleverley will assume the position of Interim Head Coach at Vicarage Road. This follows Watford FC terminating the contract of Valérien Ismaël after today's home defeat to Coventry City.

"The Hornets thank Valérien and his staff for their dedication and commitment, however the club's Board considers it an appropriate time to make a change in order to improve results. Tom Cleverley's staff will be confirmed in due course."

Cleverley will take control of first-team training this week and will be in charge of goalkeeper Ben Hamer, who is two years his senior, and former England teammate Jake Livermore who is only three months younger than him. The former midfielder could be in the dugout for Saturday's Championship clash against Birmingham City.

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The international break will follow and Watford will likely appoint a permanent option by then. The Championship club are on the hunt for their 11th permanent head coach since 2018 and eighth since the end of the 2020/2021 campaign.

Cleverley joined United as an 11-year-old back in 2000, having been spotted as a young prospect with Bradford's academy. The midfielder came through the ranks with the Reds before playing 79 times for the first-team and winning the Premier League in 2013.

The 13-capped England international also played for Leicester City, Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa and Everton before signing permanently for Watford in 2017.

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